environmental engineering

Getting The Most Value From Waste Characterization Data For Program Planning And Design

October 28, 2021

FREE LIVE WEBINAR & Q/A

We hope you can join SCS Engineers and our guest speakers for the October 28 SCS Client Webinar on Waste Characterization. We’ll start at 2:00 pm ET. This educational, non-commercial webinar with a Q&A forum throughout is free and open to all who want to learn more about waste characterization to support waste management operations. We recommend this month’s discussion for solid waste operators and facility supervisors, landfill owners, environmental engineers, agency personnel, and those interested in reuse, recycling, and contamination challenges.

To effectively design and monitor a solid waste program, it’s necessary to assess disposal practices and understand the content of the waste stream. Waste characterization studies supply this necessary information. Data gathered during waste sampling can present a complete picture of disposal, which is useful for:

  • Analyses of the efficacy of current waste diversion programs,
  • Identifying new diversion opportunities or identifying trends from conditions such as COVID-19,
  • Determining the mix of recyclables collected in designated recycling programs and contamination rates,
  • Identifying the potential for waste–to–energy and reuse projects using selected waste streams.

Register Here

 

Not just for landfills anymore, these studies are helping Material Recovery Facilities, collection programs for food recovery, organics management, and composting work more efficiently. Together our panel will discuss how states, municipalities, and regions are experiencing some surprising results and how they get the most out of every study.

This SCS panel includes guest speakers to provide a fuller perspective on how states and municipalities use the data to accomplish their solid waste management goals.

Tim Flanagan, General Manager of the MRWMD, manages a large team of professional, technical, and operations personnel who embody their mission of turning waste into resources joins us. He was also the Western Region Director of Recycling for Waste Management, overseeing its 13 states network of MRFs and material sales.

Casey Lamensky has been with the DNR’s waste and materials management program since 2013. As the Solid Waste Coordinator, she works with initiatives to divert waste from landfill disposal and regulations for alternative management facilities such as composting, woodburning, household recyclables processing, and demolition waste recycling operations.

Meet Stacey Demers, a LEED® Accredited Professional and SCS’s National Expert on solid waste composition studies, with Betsy Powers, PE, SCS’s Civil and Environmental Engineer, supporting the recent study published by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

SCS’s format allows you to ask questions throughout the event and ask them anonymously if you prefer. A Certificate of Attendance is available on request. We realize October is extraordinarily busy this year, so we’ll send you the recording if you register but cannot attend.

SCS respects your privacy; you will only receive an event confirmation & reminder from us.

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 2:00 pm

Grace Wohlford, SCS Engineers Intern to Join the Team After Graduation!

October 22, 2021

H. Grace Wohlford an Intern Engineer at SCS Engineers since May 2020.

 

Grace attends Virginia Tech University, studying Civil Engineering, and will be graduating in 2022. We are thrilled to tell you that Grace has accepted a full-time position with SCS after graduation. Lindsay Evans of SCS Human Resources interviewed Grace to get an inside look at her thoughts about SCS’s Internship Program.

What is your title at SCS Engineers? Would you please describe your responsibilities at SCS?
My title at SCS is Intern Engineer. My responsibilities include assisting the SCS Midlothian, VA office on a variety of projects, including landfill engineering, landfill gas engineering, and mining engineering projects. I also have done a good amount of Construction Quality Assurance (CQA) out in the field. I do a lot of engineering work within Civil 3D and technical reporting for EPA and VDEQ involving landfill gas monitoring and data review.

What was your favorite part about our internship program?
My favorite part of the program is definitely the intern presentation day. Although it is certainly nerve-racking, I love being able to hear what all the other interns across the U.S. were involved in at SCS Engineers.

How would you describe our company culture?
The company culture at SCS is one of my most favorite parts of getting to work here. As an intern, I have the opportunity to be a part of a team with responsibilities and access to a plethora of resources within my Midlothian office and throughout the company. It’s awesome that all SCS personnel are willing to help from far and wide; everyone is just an MS-Teams call away. I’ve had incredible mentors at SCS who fostered an amazing learning and working environment for me.

Grace is at home in the office and onsite!

What advice would you give to future interns at SCS?
My biggest piece of advice is never to be afraid to ask questions! As I said before, there are so many experienced professionals at SCS, and as interns, we should definitely take advantage of learning from them! Asking questions enabled me to grow and learn more than I would have had I not asked.

On what cool project have you worked?
I’ve gotten to work on tons of fun projects so far, but a notable one is using Leapfrog Works and 3D modeling. I take data given to me by either field personnel or the client and transform a model depicting gas wells within the landfill. It provides a visualization of liquid levels and obstructions to each well. This is cool because I also create surfaces from the interpolated liquid elevations, which gives a better understanding of where the liquid is most present within the landfill, which could indicate higher temperatures.

Do you feel that your work at SCS has made a difference in our environment?
It is fulfilling to know that the projects I work on, such as emissions management and monitoring, reporting, and communicating, positively affect the environment.

What have you learned the most in your internship?
I’ve certainly learned a lot being an intern at SCS since the summer of 2020. Something that sticks with me is that it’s crucial to be reliable and rely on others to collaborate and work cohesively on project teams. The best projects are successful due to the effectiveness of the project team behind them!

 

Our clients and SCSers are excited to have Grace, another amazing YP, join SCS Engineers as an Associate Professional! 
If you are interested in the internship program at SCS for the 2022 summer, please visit SCS’s Careers page in December 2021 to apply.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 1:06 pm

Get back into the “swing” of things at the EREF Fall Classic | SCS Engineers

October 15, 2021

We’re excited to help sponsor the EREF Fall Classic & Networking Event.

 

Revenue from the Fall Classic goes to their mission, funding scholarships for students and solid waste research to advance sustainable waste management.

Please join us in sponsoring or attending this fantastic networking event for a good cause.

Visit the EREF event page to learn more about the event and safety measures in place!

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 2:46 pm

Lined Containment Ponds Continue to Provide the Oil and Gas Industry with Safe and Efficient Wastewater Management | SCS Engineers

October 13, 2021

An effective and safe solution is the evaporation or storage of the water in lined containment ponds after separation and removal of the hydrocarbon component from the water.

 

In an environmentally safe, less costly, and efficient manner, the disposal and recycling of millions of gallons of production water (brine water) and flowback water generated from the oil and gas industry annually continue to be challenging. While new technologies are on the horizon, there remains a long road ahead to their implementation.

In his article in Geosynthetic News, Neil Nowak writes in detail about three sites in Wyoming, Utah, and Texas that are evaporating or recycling water in geomembrane-lined ponds. Nowak’s article demonstrates the successful use of black high-density polyethylene (HDPE) liners to increase evaporation over clay or unlined ponds and using a white liner to reduce evaporation relative to a black liner.

Each project has been operational for several years; they continue to expand under their permits. Nowak takes us through a combination of favorable factors to the evaporative process, including the natural characteristics of each sites’ climate and the business and environmental goals.

The projects are interesting in that each facility provides oil and gas production companies in the area with a large commercial alternative to production water and flowback disposal versus numerous small ponds or disposal via injection wells.

 

Energy industries using HDPE liners for flowback water evaporation/recycling ponds

 

 

About the Author: Neil Nowakover 30 years of experience in the consulting engineering industry, including civil, solid waste, produced water impoundments, stormwater engineering, and construction projects.

Mr. Nowak has managed environmental compliance, evaporation pond design and permitting, and construction quality assurance activities across the Southwest. As a land-use planner and Environmental Engineer, he explains how various environmental technologies work under specific conditions to companies and the public. Often he is called to public comment meetings and county commissioner meetings, where he prepares and presents project details for review and approval. He works closely with local, state, and federal regulatory agencies to ensure that the engineering and construction of sites comply with all current applicable requirements.

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

Hydrogen Sulfide Balancing Act – Act Fast, Think Long-Term | SCS Engineers

October 11, 2021

Sim emphasizes that operators should not be surprised or act too quickly when they turn on the gas extraction system and see spikes in H2S concentrations. He explains why below…

 

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) levels are creeping up at some landfills, especially those that take C&D waste; some are seeing concentrations in the thousands to 30,000 parts per million (up from about 20 to 40 ppm ten years ago). And even at very low concentrations, H2S can be problematic.

Material Recovery Facility residuals, which typically contain significant amounts of pulverized drywall, are high in gypsum and sulfate. Once broken down, residuals become a high-surface-area material, leaching into and spreading through waste. When reacting with water and organics, it can potentially generate H2S. With a drive to divert more C&D debris, and regulations tightening around H2S, operators’ jobs get harder as they work to stave off emissions from this corrosive, flammable compound notorious for its “rotten egg” odor.

When building out their gas collection systems, controlling H2S becomes even more daunting. Sol Sim, an SCS Engineers Vice President, explains, “We see H2S concentrations jump when we expand landfill gas collection systems, often in cells that contain C&D residual screening materials. The gas was there all along but sequestered. Now it’s coming out of the ground, and the onset of issues can spike suddenly.”

SCS DataServices Hydrogen Sulfide Range Map is useful for quickly locating potential treatment locations by visualizing the big picture and zooming in on individual wells or well clusters to assign staff.

When spikes come on quickly, Sim’s team implements turnkey interim treatment approaches. They start by identifying the gas collection wells with the highest contributors and act fast to get them into compliance.

SCS teams take a two-pronged approach by stepping back and thinking about the big picture while taking action. It provides a major advantage to moving too quickly.

The more data, the better. Your engineers can simulate treatment with various media to assess the impact on flare inlet concentrations. And knowing potential impact at the flare is critical; it’s the compliance point where regulators measure sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions.

SO2 can’t be controlled through combustion, so removing H2S from waste before sending gas to the flare is essential. Sim thinks back to problems he’s investigated for clients who had SO2 sneak up on them, causing failed sulfur dioxide emissions testing.

The proactive measure of identifying problematic gas wells and treating them is key to staying in compliance. And Sim often finds clients using interim solutions as long as they can. He has seen them work well for up to five years but they don’t resolve operators’ long-term issues, which will become more challenging as our waste streams continue to change or as landfills continue to accept more and more C&D materials.

“We solve immediate issues, address the impact of incoming materials several years in advance, and begin planning for the next 20 years. It’s how we determine strategies to minimize emissions and improve efficiencies into the future with consideration to needs as landfilling and recycling evolve.”

“We’re going to investigate thoroughly to pinpoint and understand the cause, but we do take immediate action in the interim. As part of the solution, we’ll develop an informed strategy to prevent issues well into the future,” he says.

For the longer haul, it takes time to get building permits. Coming up with permanent engineering designs and treatments requires a lot of troubleshooting and research. Even once engineers identify a lasting fix, it takes time to manufacture and install larger vessels and other infrastructure.

 

But they don’t wait for all these pieces to come together to act.

The priority is getting operators in compliance right away or taking down emissions if they are on the verge of noncompliance. As work begins, operators can breathe a little easier knowing they have time to figure out how to allocate resources and funds to implement a more permanent strategy.

“We’ve seen where data we’ve gathered while working on the immediate problem enables our clients to gain insight to make good decisions around rightsizing their infrastructure moving forward,” Sim says.

 

Watch and study while addressing the immediate problem.

Sim emphasizes that operators should not be surprised or act too quickly when they turn on the gas extraction system and see spikes in H2S concentrations.  There is usually an initial spike from a new high H2S producing area at the onset of gas collection.  He has seen operators abruptly stop extracting, which can lead to odors or other compliance issues.

“When you put in a treatment system, you can take out the initial surge in H2S to allow time for the concentrations to level out. It’s important to allow that window for initial surges to run their course to understand the problem better. Otherwise, you could over-design your system around a short-term event,” Sim advises.

He points to a real-life scenario: a site that skipped the interim step of starting with a less expensive initial solution. Once they started drawing on the gas, they realized the problem was not as substantial as originally thought, and they didn’t need a multi-million-dollar system in the end.

 

A balancing act.

“Imagine H2S generation as an expanding balloon; if you pop it, air rushes out fast [akin to when you first pull gas from the ground]. That concentration level scares people. But if you react by shutting off extraction points, your balloon will continue to expand and eventually create odor problems. The goal is to extract the gas and H2S at the rate it is being generated, so it’s a balancing act, where expertise and technology both play key roles,” Sim says.

Early work typically begins by identifying wells that are the highest contributors and concentrating efforts there. It’s a complex process as sites can have fifty to thousands of collection points. Having the historical data and saving the data to watch the trend makes identifying and analyzing specific wells or clusters much more efficient.

Successfully attacking those high offenders requires an understanding of flow and concentrations.  After locating the problem area, Sim takes samples using Dräger tubes at strategic points throughout individual wells and headers to identify concentrations. Gas well monitoring and the corresponding flow data will tell you if you’ve taken emissions down sufficiently.

 

More Resources:

Landfill Design-Build-OM&M

SCSeTools Landfill Data Monitoring and Analysis 

Staying Ahead of Odor Management at Solid Waste Facilities

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

CCIM Virtual Webinar on Resolving Environmental Issues in Real Estate Transactions

October 8, 2021

12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time

Complimentary Registration for CCIM Institute Members and Non-members

This CCIM webinar on overcoming environmental challenges in real estate transactions is being hosted by the San Diego chapter of CCIM to better understand:

  • Information on $500M in grant funding for Brownfields sites in California;
  • Tools, strategies, and advice to address common environmental issues in real estate transactions, including environmental insurance;
  • The most recent information on controversial new guidance for “vapor intrusion” and what it means for deals, loans, and possible regulatory oversight;
  • Asbestos rules and regulations for tenant improvement and adaptive reuse projects, including City and County requirements, and buyers who specialize and target “environmental” sites and deals.

Strategies to Resolve Environmental Issues in Your Real Estate Transaction” will be presented on Wednesday, October 20th, from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time through Zoom. The panel of experts includes:

  • Dan Johnson, Vice President, SCS Engineers;
  • Greg Schilz, Executive Vice President, Environmental Practice Leader, CAC Specialty;
  • Cris Ramirez, CAC, Senior Project Advisor, SCS Engineers; and
  • Alissa Barrow, PE, Project Manager, SCS Engineers.

Registration is complimentary for CCIM members and non-members through the following link: https://ccim.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_HU4wA0c6TxiULuKrngdzlA. Webinar attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and participate in this interactive online platform.

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 9:00 am

Illinois Energy Transition Act | SCS Engineers

October 4, 2021

SCS Engineers Environmental Consulting and Contracting
SCS Engineers uses specialized teams for solar implementation on landfills and Brownfields, remediation due diligence and restoration, and biogas and agricultural feedstocks for clean energy.

 

On September 15, Governor Pritzker signed Senate Bill 2408, forming the Illinois Energy Transition Act.  The Act advances renewable energy goals and the path to carbon-free electricity generation by 2045. To say this bill will impact the Illinois electrical utility landscape is an understatement.

Illinois is a top energy producer and consumer in the upper Midwest. The Act requires displacement of more than 6,000 MWh provided from coal and natural gas. One average MWh is enough to power 796 homes for a year in the U.S.

Energy efficiencies and implementing alternative energy resources will be an increasingly important strategy to mitigate the cost impacts from this Act to all users: residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal.

SCS supports clients with the decommissioning and legacy management of coal-fired facilities and renewable energy development. Our environmental team in Illinois includes local experts, Scott Knoepke and Richard Southorn who support the management of coal-fired facilities with Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) and assist utilities transitioning to renewable natural gas installments and solar energy sources. For coal-fired facilities with CCR impoundments, SCS’s Illinois Office provides design, closure, construction quality assurance, and site stewardship (e.g., long-term maintenance, groundwater monitoring, and reporting).

SCS uses a specialized team for solar implementation on landfills and Brownfields. Knoepke and Southorn are supported by SCS National Experts in the region to assess and implement Solar Energy on Landfills & Brownfields.

The Act defines that landfill gas produced in Illinois as a renewable energy resource. SCS Engineers has one of the longest and most successful Biogas practices in the United States. SCS designs, constructs, and operates more Biogas, Anaerobic Digestion, Renewable Natural Gas, Ag Digester systems than any other engineering firm in the nation. Our clients attribute our quality and high production rates to our practice specializing in waste gas utilization, combined with our expertise in solid waste management and compliance.

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

2021 Iowa Recycling and Solid Waste Management Conference

October 4, 2021

The Iowa Recycling and Solid Waste Management Conference will host an in-person conference October 4-6, 2021, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cedar Rapids Convention Complex.   A slate of diverse speakers, a large exhibit hall, and some fun networking opportunities are on tap for this event including SCS’s own women in waste management.

 

SMM – Vision for Iowa Project Update
(Tuesday, October 5, 2021, 8:00 AM)

Michelle Leonard’s first presentation will provide an update on the Sustainable Materials Management Vision for the Iowa Phase II project, including work completed to date, and the plans and process for the project over the next 18 months.

 

Michelle LeonardFood Recycling and Rescue in LA County
(Tuesday, October 5, 2021, 9:50 AM)

Michelle Leonard’s second presentation will provide attendees with detailed information on food donation and recycling. Details include how the programs were envisioned, the planning process undertaken by the County, the program results, and the County’s next steps. She will present details on the County’s, private business, and haulers’ roles and responsibilities, and will offer suggestions for how other communities can implement a successful food donation program.

 

anastasia welchStrategically Planning an Alternative Cover
(Tuesday, October 5, 2021, 4:15 PM)

Anastasia Welch presents how alternative covers come in many varieties and may be appropriate for an individual site based on a number of design criteria, performance standards, and material availability considerations. Apart from technical engineering issues, long-term financial and maintenance requirements are also considered. And most importantly, how does termination of post-closure care work with an alternative cover?

Anastasia’s presentation will bring current a summary of evapotranspiration and synthetic turf cover systems and the main permitting and design considerations of each. The second portion of her presentation will explore how the financial assurance, post-closure care, and post-closure termination aspects of landfill management are impacted by these two alternative cover systems.

 

Click for details, safety information, and registration information

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 12:00 am

SCS Engineers Expands Environmental Services in Illinois

September 29, 2021

SCS Engineers Chicago

New Chicago office location at 40 Shuman Boulevard, Suite 216, Naperville, IL 60563

SCS Engineers continues expanding its environmental team in its Chicago, Illinois office to meet environmental engineering and consulting needs focusing on waste management and the needs of the electric utilities. Driving demands are industries and municipalities seeking to reduce their environmental footprint while providing essential services and products.

Scott KnoepkeLeading the Chicagoland team, Professional Engineer and Professional Geologist Scott Knoepke. Knoepke serves clients needing remediation and site redevelopment. This includes commercial dry cleaners, retail petroleum sites, and heavy industries such as steel, rail, coal, mining, manufacturing, metal cutting, and plating.

Meet the Crew!

Richard SouthornRichard Southorn, PE, PG, with 20 years of experience, joins Knoepke supporting solid waste and electric utility sectors. Southorn began his career in the field performing CQA oversight, environmental monitoring, and soil core/rock core logging at landfill sites. He moved into landfill design and modeling, primarily to support landfill expansion projects. Richard has extensive experience with site layouts, geotechnical stability, stormwater management, and leachate generation analyses.

 

Brett Miller is a Senior Designer with over 20 years of experience and proficiency in AutoCAD Civil 3D and Maya. Brett is capable of any production drafting and is highly skilled in understanding 3D space. This helps him support designs that fit into site-specific, real-world environments. Brett also creates 3D models and animations that illustrate the benefits of a design to our clients.

 

Niko Villanueva, PE, joins SCS with eight years of experience. Niko provides engineering and drafting support and is experienced in designing various landfill systems such as stormwater management, leachate and gas control, and foundation analysis. He has also prepared cost estimates and construction bid quantities for various projects and construction quality assurance services at multiple facilities.

 

Meet Spencer LaBelle, with six years of experience. Spencer provides solutions for stormwater-related projects, including stormwater management system design, permitting, and compliance. He provides a diverse portfolio of clients and industries with stormwater-related services and environmental compliance.

 

Zack Christ, PE, comes to SCS with 15 years of experience in solid waste and CCR landfill sectors. Zack has experience performing CQA oversight and CQA management of landfill final cover, base liner, and GCCS; environmental monitoring; and logging soil borings. He also has extensive landfill design and CAD experience in developing landfill siting and permitting application projects. Zack’s areas of expertise include geotechnical analyses, stormwater management, leachate management design, GCCS design, and cost estimating.

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

What’s in your landfill? What it’s costing you may not be sustainable.

September 27, 2021

Waste characterization studies help businesses, government planners, haulers, and recyclers understand what’s in their waste streams, a first step in devising ways to reduce waste and cut disposal costs.

 

Recently the state of Wisconsin released its updated 2020-2021 statewide waste characterization study. The study found that the broad organics category, including yard waste and diapers, accounted for about 1.3 million tons. An estimated 924,900 tons of paper, including cardboard, compostable and office paper, comprised about 21 percent of the landfills’ tonnage. That was followed by plastic at about 17 percent or 745,600 tons.

You can read the study, but why do local governments, states, and waste management businesses request these studies? Because waste and landfills are expensive to manage. Diverting waste from landfills cuts greenhouse gases and supplies materials for reuse as new products or compost – a more sustainable system.

Waste characterization information is designed for solid waste planning; however, anyone interested in the characteristics of the solid waste stream may find it useful. Studies can also target specific waste or needs such as construction and demolition waste and business waste generators. A generator means a person, specific location, or business that creates waste.

These studies help start answering questions such as:

  • How much wasted food could be diverted for consumption or organics management?
  • How is COVID impacting recycling and recycled material feedstocks?
  • Which business groups dispose or recycle the most tons, and what materials make up those tons?
  • What is the commercial sector’s overall waste composition for disposal and diversion streams?
  • What are the detailed compositions for different groups or generators?
  • How much building debris is mixed in, and what kind of impact does it have?

States, jurisdictions, citizens, and businesses can use this information as a planning tool to help meet state mandates and their goals to reduce waste and achieve the benefits of sustainable practices. Kudos to Wisconsin, Iowa, and California, several of the many states moving toward more circular waste management!

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am